I think it is natural for each new generation of Christians to think of themselves as living in a world that’s much more anti-Biblical than any time before. Today, for instance, as I consider current events, I see Hurricane Harvey’s death toll continue to rise. I see a North Korean leader smile, even laugh, as he examines what he claims to be a hydrogen bomb. I see a United States divided over racial tensions, economic differences, and—as was recently brought to light with the Nashville Statement—the right view of sexuality.
Such disaster and animosity brings us Christians to sometimes think of ourselves as strangers in a strange world. And, to some extent, we are. We know that we are called to live differently than the world, to live in a way that is set apart from those who live as if they are their own gods. And perhaps, if you’re a sinner like me, you’ve often thought to yourself, “Wouldn’t it be much easier if I was my own god? If all my decisions had only to gain my own approval, I could act on a whim and fear no consequences because, as my own god, I technically could do no wrong.” Wouldn’t it be easier not to care about worldly events, to live our lives as though such circumstances cannot touch us? To throw money in the offertory bag here, and say a prayer there, but overall to avoid the valley of pain that awaits us below if we choose to invest in other’s sufferings? Wouldn’t it be much easier, simpler, and cleaner to instead trot along the mountaintop, completely content to be untouched and unscathed by the world’s hurt?
Faithful, disciplined, humbled, heaven-seeking, and God-fearing? Not even close.
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, this is not a strange world we live in—this is God’s world. You and I cannot pretend that to be a Christian means to live pretty lives in pretty houses with pretty families and pretty routines, to look out our windows or into our TV screens and say to ourselves, “These sure are crazy times we live in,” but then shut it all out or walk away.
Since when was complacent Christianity a model sought to be followed after?
Is such complacency the same mindset that Christ had when came to live among the broken?
In the beginning of Deuteronomy, God continues to speak to the Israelites through the lips of Moses. Moses has just relayed the Ten Commandments to the people in chapter 5, and now he is calling God’s people to remember the Father, who He is, and all He has done.
What are the first words out of Moses’ mouth?
“Take care lest you forget the Lord your God by not keeping his commandments and his rules and his statutes, which I command you today, 12 lest, when you have eaten and are full and have built good houses and live in them, 13 and when your herds and flocks multiply and your silver and gold is multiplied and all that you have is multiplied, 14 then your heart be lifted up, and you forget the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery, 15 who led you through the great and terrifying wilderness, with its fiery serpents and scorpions and thirsty ground where there was no water, who brought you water out of the flinty rock, 16 who fed you in the wilderness with manna that your fathers did not know, that he might humble you and test you, to do you good in the end. 17 Beware lest you say in your heart, ‘My power and the might of my hand have gotten me this wealth.’
My fellow believers, let us beware that we do not become complacent and neglect our roles as Christ’s followers. Let us not become our own gods and distance ourselves from the tough sacrifices, the tough conversations, the tough daily choices which draw us closer to the Father and, in some instances, closer to the hurting in this world. Let us not forget where we came from: that we too were wanderers in the desert, nomads without hope, before the Lord our God redeemed us and made us whole. Instead of boasting in what we believe to be personal strength and living like we have somehow earned our right to live comfortable lives, let us instead move forward in humility and recognize our place in God’s world as sinners saved to heal a hurting world through the power of Christ’s blood.